Ruining Fantasy?

I talk a lot about writing trends and would like to go into something that has been going on for a while now…

There has been a push in more recent media circles to make fantasy and fiction more like reality…

We’ve all seen this in some way, shape, or form. Be it people who let movies raise their children crying about Disney princesses and the whole ‘Love at first sight’ mentality, to all kinds of different elements being added into fantasy universes that are inappropriate, to say the least.

Fantasy isn’t constrained by real work physics, it’s not confined to our narrow view of reality, and it never should be. Is ‘Love At First Sight’ realistic? No. Does it happen sometimes? Eh… maybe? I’ve never seen it… but whatever. It’s a story trope. It’s something writers do, mostly in movie mediums, when they are constrained by a time limit and need to get the point across about their characters.

But Jim, it’s painting an unrealistic view of love and relationships for our children!

Of course it is… THATS WHY ITS CALLED FANTASY!!! It’s an unrealistic universe… or are you going to tell me that griffons, elves, dragons, dwarves, and goblins actually exist?
(Because I’d be very appreciative if you did!)
Look, its supposed to be harmless fun that was never meant to be taken seriously and can easily be put into context.

But I don’t want my kids to…

That’s YOUR problem, not mine, not anyone who writes stories or creates movies. If you aren’t adult enough to be able to parent your child and put stories like these into context for them, I’d say that you’ve got far bigger problems than a perceived movie narrative. I’m sorry to be harsh, but I have kids too and good parenting is always the best defense against any perceived notion of narrative.

I mean, which is a more appropriate, proportionate response?
1. Sitting down and explaining the reality of the stories they see and read to their children.

2. Writing angry letters to Disney, practically ordering them to change their ways to fit in with your mouth-breathing ideologies?

Well… it seems that most people chose option 2. How do I know? Let’s take a look at Disney’s highest grossing film in a long time… a film that I have grown to despise, because of it’s over-exposure, it’s predictable story, and… of all things… its egregious departure from the original story!

(Sorry, I’m a huge fan of Hans Christian Anderson’s work… to the point that I own a few 1st ediitons of his work)

 

Wow… Disney’s highest grossing film? YOU HATE IT!?

Yes. Go read The Snow Queen… and then watch ‘Let it Go’ 50 times in a row and you’ll understand why.
No, all kidding aside. When I took my son to see it, 10 minutes into the film when they were talking about true love thawing a frozen heart, I shook my head and thought to myself ‘Please tell me they’re not going to do a fake out, make it look like true love will save the day with via prince, only to suddenly reveal that it’s true love between the sisters…’
Yup… Disney decided to turn the movie into social commentary against their own movie tropes. While some considered this to be clever, I found it shallow and predictable…

Well maybe that’s just you!

Probably, given how popular this movie is. Maybe I can spot these things more easily because of my love for fantasy and the fact that I’m a writer myself… maybe, but then I’d invite everyone to rewatch the movie from an analytical standpoint. Watch and see if you can find the same problem I did.

This is the problem I have with this. The movie, based off of one of HCA’s best books, was ruined because Disney was focused on social commentary and trying to appease the crowd of people (mostly feminists dealing with the princess stereotype, and absentee parents) whining that fantasy is unrealistic!

The ironic part of this whole thing is that if they compare the book to the movie, most feminists would STILL say that the movie falls horribly short of their agenda, because in the book, a girl saves a boy, not a girl saves a girl… So why even bother?

But you know what? I’m going off on a bit of a tangeant.

So what brought all this on, all of a sudden? Well let’s go back a year or two. My wife and I loved a show known as How I Met Your Mother

We watched season after season Ted be a doofus, Lilly be deplorable, Barney be a whoremonger, Marshall be a goon, and Robin be a maniac. It was a fun ride… too bad it was ruined at the end of the series with a finale that completely destroyed several seasons of character build up, and crashed and burned multiple plot threads that we had been waiting to see unfold.

The series creators’ justification for this? Sigh… it was more realistic…

Per Craig Thomas on twitter:

… Craig… here’s the problem… This show is NOT realistic. If it were:
Ted would have been living on the streets or back with his parents for the seasons that he was unemployed because, I’m sorry, no unemployment check is going to cover an apartment in NEW YORK CITY!!

Not to mention that he’d most likely be in jail for any number of indescretions he’d comitted during the show’s run.

Marshall would likely have not lived to adulthood given his family dynamic and the way he was with his brothers.

Lilly would either not have married Marshall or she’d be royally hated by his family… and most likely had other problems stemming from the way she treated people when she was younger.

Robin, at the least, would have been behind bars for assault and then deported.

Barney… would currently be a science experiment at some lab trying to find a cure for sexually transmitted diseases.

Yet somehow these characters are people who have quite a few friends, and have a pretty good life… if that’s not fantasy, then I don’t know what is. So then you’re going to take that show out of context, take the extremely unrealistic life events and lifestyles, and try to put them into a real-world context because… that’s how life works? Do you not see the problem here?


Writers, why do we feel the need to do this? If we’re writing an urban fantasy based around real life places or events, where the narrative has all along been about living by real world rules, then I can understand pushing the real-world context, but in almost any other fiction-fantasy world, this doesn’t make sense.

Because it paints an unrealistic view of the life that can be harmful.

How? Why do you think people like fantasy and fiction? Why do they continue to pick up  books and watch movies based around things that aren’t real? Because they get enough of that real world every day of their lives. Fantasy gives them a chance to get away to another place, it’s something that they enjoy.

Do you really think that people need that dose of reality? Seriously? What’s the harm in letting people enjoy their works without a sudden slap in the face to needlessly remind them of the blantantly obvious fact that what they’re reading ISN’T REAL!??

Okay… you know what… the sheer lunacy of this is driving me nuts. I’m going to go get a drink, everyone… just enjoy the Nostalgia Critic’s rendition of Let It Go…
CHEERS!




Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

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Magnifica: Tears of the Fallen Sample Chapter

SPOILERS AHEAD IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THE OTHER BOOKS!!!


“Ariel, what is it? What has happened? Our world…”
“Oh my God… why… this was not supposed to happen!”
“Ariel, I don’t understand. It’s like an outside influence is affected them.”
“Yes Roselyn, I can feel it, the ebb of time. There was an inter-dimensional shift… something terrible has happened.”
“What should we do, sister?”
“I have a feeling I know what caused this… I think it’s time for us to check in on our friends.”
“Ariel… you know the laws…”
“I know sister, but it’s a risk we have to take. The influence of our kind is what sent their world into chaos in the first place. We have to see…”


Chapter I

 

“Come on Toby, get up!” A shrill voice called out, breaking the silence.

Toby groaned as his dream world gave way to a light blur. His eyes opened as he spoke, “All right, I’m awake…”

Lia’na shook her head, “Ever since Hawaii you’ve been getting lazy! Come on, we’ve got stuff to do today.”

Toby shook his head as he sat up, “Yes… I know, don’t remind me.”

She frowned, “I already did. We’ve got to go check on your uncle’s house to make sure that the lock was repaired and the cleaning crew did their job, and then you promised that you’d take me somewhere fun.”

“I know…” Toby replied. “I guess I’m just dreading it. I haven’t set foot in that house since before… well you know.”

Lia’na nodded, “Yeah… look if it’s that big of a deal, I can just go and look for you.”

She crawled onto the mattress until her face was right in front of Toby’s, “I’m sorry. I guess I’m just anxious. Classes start on Monday and I know we won’t be able to go out much when things pick up.”

Toby turned to the side and put his feet on the floor, “Don’t worry about it. I know we need to get this done at some point. It might as well be now.”

Toby looked Lia’na over as he stood up. She was once again sleeping in his Boston Red Sox jersey instead of the pajamas that he’d bought for her. The white shirt complimented the tan on her skin from the weeks that they’d spent in Hawaii.  Her hair was a mess and her braids were coming out, but she didn’t seem to care.

Toby liked this look on Lia’na much more than when she got all dressed up. To him, this was a sign that she was comfortable and relaxed around him. Why she preferred his jersey to the cotton pajamas was anyone’s guess, but the one time she wore the pajamas he got her, she tossed and turned all night.

Lia’na smiled as Toby pulled himself up, “All right! Shower time.”

She grabbed his hand and led him into the bathroom. Toby followed close behind and shut the door. He quickly turned the dial that activated the fan in the bathroom. It quickly came on with a whoosh as he in turned back to the shower.

Lia’na reached down to the bottom of the uniform and pulled the end up over her head. All she was wearing underneath was a pair of white bikini bottoms. Toby watched her undress as she got ready for the shower. It was something he’d seen several times before, but he never tired of it. Lia’na noticed him staring and slowed down a little with a coy smile on her face.

The moment Toby realized what she was doing he stopped watching her and quickly stripped off his own t-shirt and boxers. Once they were both ready, Lia’na stepped into the porcelain tub and bent down to turn the water on. It took her a moment to find a comfortable temperature, but once she had, she pulled the level and activated the shower head.

Toby got in behind her as the water poured down her body. She stood up straight, closed her eyes, and released a deep sigh as the heat caressed her skin. The water made her shimmer as Toby pulled her body close and let the water fall down around them.

Lia’na nuzzled her head into Toby’s chest as he squeezed her and wrapped her arms around him. She was breathing deeply, allowing the water to sooth her nerves. Her back arched as Toby ran his hand over her spine and her skin broke out in goose bumps.

A familiar feeling came over Toby. His body began to glow as little wisps of light appeared around them in the shower. Lia’na looked at them with worry, “Spirit embers… Toby, this is the third time in two weeks.”

Toby nodded as he looked at his skin, “I know. I don’t understand it either. The radioactive properties of the crystal are what gave me these powers in the first place. By now, the residual energy should have worn off. Shouldn’t my powers have vanished by now?”

Lia’na shrugged, “I don’t know, ta arshana. I would have at least expected them to weaken somewhat, but they haven’t and that worries me. We need to figure out why your powers are still with you, and why they seem to have gained strength.”

“How do we figure that out?” Toby asked.

“I don’t know.” Lia’na admitted. “Masarabi might have been able to tell us, but we’re not allowed to go back there. I checked every historical piece I could find on the Lux Mundi online, but they didn’t have anything either. Maybe when we get back to campus the library will have something. Arias has a collection of old books that might have something.”

“All right.” Toby replied. “Then we’ll check the library when we get back. For now though, can we just not worry about it? It’s been bothering you since we got back from Hawaii and I would just like to have a day or two where we don’t worry about things.”

Lia’na nodded as the embers slowly vanished and she gave him a tight squeeze, “Deal.”

Neither one of them wanted to let the moment end, but they had a long day ahead of them and had to get started. Toby would have been okay with staying in the room and relaxing, but he knew that Lia’na was still getting used to her new home closer to the city, so he decided to do things her way.

Toby grabbed a small green bottle of shampoo off of the wall and turned back to Lia’na, “Okay, turn around.”

Lia’na smiled as she did as she was told and faced the shower head, “I’ll never get tired of you doing this.”

Toby shrugged as he emptied some of the contents on to his hands, “I don’t get why you enjoy it so much.”

She closed her eyes as he ran his hands through her hair and shrugged, “I’m not really sure why I like it either. When you wash my hair, it relaxes me. It feels like you’re willing take care of me when I need or want it.”

Toby ran his hands through her long hair, careful to make sure that it was all getting some soap. His fingers spread and ran through it like a pair of combs. He quickly finished up and lathered the rest of her body.

Lia’na slowly rinsed herself off by turning around a few times under the water. Finally she stepped out from under the shower and wiped the water from her eyes. She smiled as her eyes met Toby’s, “Your turn.”

Toby switched places with Lia’na and got under the water. He closed his eyes as the drying sweat rinsed off of his skin. As he washed, Toby felt fingers going through his hair.

Lia’na had apparently decided to return the favor and quickly washed Toby’s hair. She worked her fingers through his short hair with the soap. Toby knew she had a much easier job than he did because he didn’t have anywhere near as much hair. Yeah, no fair; this shouldn’t count as returning the favor.

They stayed in the shower for a few more minutes before Toby twisted the handle to turn the water off. Once the last drops had fallen from the shower head, he reached out from behind the curtain to the rack above the toilet and grabbed two towels. He handed the first one to Lia’na and wiped himself down with the second one.

Toby quickly brushed his teeth and hair and left Lia’na to tend to her own hair. He headed over to his dresser and grabbed a clean black shirt out of the drawer with a decent pair of khaki shorts. Unlike when he was on campus, his underwear drawer was full of clean shorts, so finding a decent pair was easy.

Toby dressed quickly as Lia’na worked on her hair in the bathroom. When he was done, Toby quickly went through the closet he’d given to Lia’na for her clothes. He found a nice pair of flats and a black dress that he had bought for her, but she had yet to wear. He went back to his own drawer with her clothes in hand and grabbed a black collared shirt and a pair of longer pants from his drawer.

Now that Toby had everything that he wanted, he sneaked out of the bedroom, through the living room, and down to his bike in the garage. He moved quietly, hoping Lia’na wouldn’t notice that he was missing.

A familiar purr came from the garage as he opened the door. Toby shook his head, “Shh…”

The bike quieted down as Toby slid the clothes into the leather side bags on the motorcycle. He quickly threaded the straps back together, concealing the bags’ contents as he looked at the bike’s headlight, “Don’t say anything okay? I’m taking Lia’na somewhere special.”

The bike made a low revving sound and immediately cut out. Toby smiled, “Thanks buddy. I’ll be right back.”

Toby quickly made his way back upstairs to the condo. He opened the door, walked back into the bedroom, and sat down on his mattress. Thankfully, Lia’na was still in the bathroom. He was about lay down when his phone went off. The loud music made him jump as he turned to his nightstand. The display was lit up and a horrible picture of Gishan from when he was drunk appeared.

Oh God… what does he want? Toby thought as he picked up the phone, “Hey buddy, what’s up?”

“Nothing,” Gishan replied, “just checking in. How you guys doing?”

“We’re fine.” Toby replied. “Lia’na’s pretty much all healed up. The Ulium is gone and the emotional damage seems to be going away as well. She seems to be getting more used to living here.”

“That’s good… really good.” Gishan replied.

Toby rolled his eyes, “Seriously dude, this is the fourth time you’ve called in a few days, what’s going on?”

“Ah I don’t know.” Gishan’s voice replied. “I guess I’m just bored. Giselle is out of town for another few weeks and God only knows where she is.”

Toby nodded, “Comes with the job, you know?”

“Yeah I do…” Gishan said. “Doesn’t make it any easier though.”

“I didn’t think it would.” Toby admitted as Lia’na came out of the bathroom. “Don’t worry about it though. We’ll all be on campus in another day or so.”

Gishan sighed, “Yeah I know. It just won’t be the same having to share my place with a new roommate.”

Toby shrugged, “Matteus is a good guy. You’ll do fine.”

“Did you get all of your crap out of the room?” Gishan asked.
“Yeah.” Toby replied. “We rented a van a few days ago and got both mine and Lia’na’s stuff before turning in our keys to the office.”

“Don’t seem right dude…” Gishan said softly.

“I know Gishan.” Toby said in a comforting tone. “Look, if it gets that bad, you can always come here and shack up in the spare bedroom. You’ve got a key, you know?”

Gishan’s voice perked up a little. “Yeah I do. All right thanks Toby.”

“Don’t mention it.” Toby replied. “I’ll see you on Monday.”

“Looking forward to it, see ya man.” Gishan said as he hung up the phone.

Lia’na stepped out of the bathroom and looked at Toby as he put the phone down, “Gishan again?”

Toby nodded, “It’s a big adjustment for him. This will be the first time we’re not living together in a while. I guess he doesn’t like having to let go.”

Lia’na rolled his eyes, “He doesn’t have to, you know? We have the extra room! He can always move in here! Now that you’ve bound me to you, I don’t really need that room and I never wanted to come between you two.”

Toby shrugged, “I know that, I offered it to him… but he’s stubborn. I’m sure after a few weeks with Matteus, he’ll come around.”

Lia’na shook her head, “I hope so. I don’t think Giselle likes the idea of hanging out on a college campus.”

Toby smiled as he looked at her, “Come on; let’s go out for some breakfast.”

Lia’na’s eyes lit up, “Oh, the Tumble Inn?”

Toby nodded, “Why not?”

“All right!” Lia’na cheered. “Give me a minute to get dressed.”

Lia’na quickly threw on a pair of black bikini briefs, a matching bra, jean shorts, and a green lace top with spaghetti straps. It was still warm out, so she thought that this would be sufficient. She quickly looked at herself in the mirror and nodded in approval.

Once Lia’na was convinced she looked presentable, she turned to Toby, “Okay I’m ready! Let’s go!”

The couple left Toby’s condo and headed down to the garage. The moment the door opened, Lia’na was startled by the loud roar of a motorcycle engine. Toby’s bike was powered up and ready to go.

Lia’na shook her head as she looked at it, “I still don’t understand how she still has powers. That’s a little worrisome.”

Toby frowned with a hurt look on his face, “I like it. The bike is much more fun with a personality, though it can be a little too pushy at times!”

The bike stopped roaring and let out a low purr. Lia’na gave the bike a sympathetic look, “Aw, Toby, you hurt her feelings!”

“And how do you know it’s a woman?” Toby demanded.

Lia’na ran her fingers across the seat as the bike’s engine purred appreciatively, “Women just understand each other.”

Toby’s eyes rolled as he sat on the bike, “Oh whatever, let’s go!”